top of page

Interview with Rémi Jacques, Jean-Félix Bélanger, Ève Pilon-Senterre and Jacinthe Racine for GLOB Festival OFF Avignon 2022

[part 1]

Rémi Jacques, Jean-Félix Bélanger, Ève Pilon-Senterre and Jacinthe Racine.

12 July 2022

Rémi: So the rhythm in this show, all the time, has to listen to the audience. They give a good rhythm for the clown.

Jean-Félix: That’s one of the biggest points of work in the company, it’s about rhythm. The clown that we're doing, the physical theatre that we are doing, even the acrobatics. It’s about rhythm. Every movement has to be either fast or slow… and this is how we work generally.  

And for this show, we'll say…. Let's put ourselves in slow. 

Rémi: Sloooow down. Slow down.

It’s Friday morning and I’ve just seen ‘Glob’ at Théâtre des Lucioles. Below is a transcript of the conversation I had with the people behind the soft, poetic clown show: Rémi Jacques, Jean-Félix Bélanger, Ève Pilon-Senterre and Jacinthe Racine. We sit in the sun and as we wait for everyone to arrive we wonder whether recording a voice memo will be heard over the wind so I ask Jean-Félix what he had for breakfast to test it. It’s carb and protein packed, involves half a kiwi and usually a boiled egg but unfortunately there were none left that morning. He says that three-quarters into the show the breakfast energy has run out.

Ellen: And you’ve trained for an hour before the show as well? You wake up, eat, train and then perform? 

Jean-Félix: Yeah we warm up, we physically do all the acrobatic tricks we do in the show. We go through everything, Remy’s  doing all these handstands, we’re juggling, doing the hand to hand, I’m warming up my fingers for the piano so there’s a lot of things going on so… we have to pass on each discipline; each thing that we do in the show to be ready. 

Ellen: Can you introduce yourself and tell me what you do in the show? 

Jean-Félix: I’m Jean-Félix Bélanger, I’m the co-director of the company Les Foutoukours we’re presenting GLOB the show. In the show I’m also one of the artists. 

[Laughter as with impeccable timing, Rémi arrives]

Rémi: Hello hello! 

Jean-Félix: and this is my colleague, partner… 

Rémi: Hello! Rémi! 

[There is an explanation in french that the interview has began, Jean-Félix continues] 

Jean-Félix:  so I’m Jean-Félix, the co-director of the company and one of the artists and in the show we’re doing acrobatic clown so I’m playing piano, I’m juggling, I’m doing globolo, that’s a new version of diabolo, we’re doing hand-to-hand together and tap dance, everything. And my colleague Rémi… 

Rémi: This is me! Hi! My name is Rémi Jacques and I’m the founder of Les Foutoukours and.. I’m a clown! 

Jean-Félix: And he is also an artist in the show. The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Ellen: Wow, Congratulations! 

Jean-Félix: Thank you, thanks to him [a gesture at Rémi] he founded it…and I’ve been in the company for 10 years, I’m celebrating my 10 years. 

Rémi: Congratulations! You are now a real clown, you have your 10 years! 

Ellen: [Turning to Jacinthe] Can you introduce yourself?

Jacinthe: I’m Jacinthe Racine, I’m the technical director and I made the lights for the show Glob with Rémi and I’ve worked for the company since 2018 and now actually I’m leaving my place to Ève.  

Rémi: Our new technical director! Say your name!

Ève: Ève Pilon-Senterre and I’m going to be doing the same thing Jasmin was doing. But for Avignon, we’re two because to save time we decided that one person will be inside the box.

Jacinthe: In the box!

Rèmi: Here it’s more of a challenge, normally we have a small robot that organises…

Jacinthe: The motors .

Rémi: The little robot [Churrrrrrr sound] So the trapdoors open [Whiiiiiiiir sound]

Ève: Instead of someone.

Jacinthe: Yes, but with all the changeovers here it was too much stuff to place and change so we decided to have a human. 

Rémi: Human!! 

Ellen: The original robot! 

Jacinthe: Actually it was really helpful for all the set up and we worked together so it was easier. 

Ève: And for troubleshooting also.. Because [laughter] if something doesn't work.. It’s my fault, it’s not the motor! 

Rémi: So do you have a question for the show? 

Ellen: I do! Particularly I’m curious about the timeline of the process and points of collaboration to make this show because of the way the space works with the clowns…

Rémi: Go Jean Félix!  Jean-Félix: With the company it’s always a long process of creation, it’s always between two or three years from the first idea of the show to the real thing. So, with this show, Glob we were speaking of a new show Rémi and I and what we would do next. We have made three shows together and Glob is our fourth one and at one point we were touring with Brotipo and we went to Norway for a festival that was really in the city, really, really in the north. And it was the midnight sun because it’s in June, so the sun never goes down. We went to see a jazz show in a bar. We saw the jazz, it was really, really beautiful. We went out of the bar and we saw, it was like a port, and we saw the city. It was almost midnight but it was still sunny but really, really calm because people were sleeping and we were really impressed by this energy and this atmosphere. And we said, ‘that will be the next show’. It will be calm, It will be slow. Slowness.  How can we work on… slow? 


Rémi: Yeah, and you have a really big mountain with the snow and we thought okay, maybe the costumes are a reflection of this. And the people were very… We just walked in the night, but it was the day, it was light. People were so very, very slow and we thought hmmm this rhythm is very interesting so maybe now we work this rhythm in the show. And the big question is….

[Rémi confers with Jean-Félix in French]

Jean-Félix: The challenge was how can we do a show that is slow, how can we do a show about waiting and that is not boring. 


Rémi: The line is very short…. 

[Rémi makes a wavering gesture with his hand]

Rémi: So, “uhp!”  Too long, just too bad! Or,  “oh no!” It's too fast. So the rhythm in this show, all the time, has to listen to the audience. They give a good rhythm for the clown.

Jean-Félix: That’s one of the biggest points of work in the company, it’s about rhythm. The clown that we're doing, the physical theatre that we are doing, even the acrobatics. It’s about rhythm. Every movement has to be either fast or slow… and this is how we work generally.  

And for this show, we'll say…. Let's put ourselves in slow. 

Rémi: Sloooow down. Slow down. 

Ellen: So you approached this work with a big question and challenge to yourselves: how to make a slow show about waiting that isn’t boring. And the world (onstage) felt established from the beginning? 

Jean-Félix: Yes, right after Rémi is working with the scenography. The first step after that (the initial show conception) we have to see the place where we will work. Because clowns are good to work in nothing. You can do a full show with nothing. 

Rémi: It’s better. It’s better with nothing.  

Jean-Félix:  But we still wanted to give something. so that was this idea of the cube, the three steps and a piano altogether. Which is abstract.

Rémi: Space. And I just give this gift of space to the audience. This space is just for you.

Jean-Félix: The public can decide what it is…I'm not sure what is the real timeline after that, but after that we said what shape could we use and that was the globe. Okay. Let's put 12 globes everywhere. And we put light in that. 

Rémi: Sometimes (the costumes) for the audience is a cloud. Sometimes it’s snow. Sometimes it’s a bird. 

Jean-Félix:That’s for costumes.

Rémi: Sometimes it’s an angel. Sometimes (the space) is limbo. So, the audience decides what is the story, what is the meaning for us? 

Jacinthe: The meaning is open. You can see whatever image you wanna see and you can interpret what they (Rémi and Jean-Félix’s clowns) are doing there. 

Rémi: And the light is very important for this show. 

Ève: It’s true.

Rémi: Because it's not real life again. For me, it's more important for the theatre to create the magic moment or the special moment, not the real life of the apartment or the normal light. I love the shadow, [Rémi clicks] the sparkle, the smoke. 

It-it’s a theatre! It’s a magic space!  Ellen: That was such a strength in the show, the space and slowness you left around the images you created. We could put ourselves into it. [Turning to Jacinthe and Ève] So at what point in the process did you come into the show?

Jacinthe:  I was supposed to do stage managing and the technical direction of the show but the first lighting designer had an issue for the first technical residence so I jumped onto it with Rémi. 

Rémi: Jasmine! Go to the board! And I’m still  in the theatre: 

“Okay, this is possible, see this!” 


“And this” 

“No! AhhHHh, I need this!” 

“OkaaaAAy!” and finally we worked together to create. 

Jacinthe: Yeah, we created this universe together and tried to find the effect that's gonna work for the globes on stage. We see when the world is talking to the clown it's like the environment has its own character. We can feel like when they (the space) wants to say something to the clown, like, ‘go there’ or  ‘I'm gonna give you a clue’ ‘I will give you a ride during this journey’. Actually they are all the time discovering a little bit of a new piece of the space. So it's like there's three characters. 

Ellen: Where do you normally work? 

Rémi: In Montreal. 

Ellen: So you’re away from home here?

Jean-Félix: Right now. Yes. 

Jacinthe: Just an ocean. 

Jean Félix: Yeah, just an ocean, but we are used to it. The company is doing shows all around the world because all of our shows are clown shows, acrobatic clown shows with no language. So it's a universal language, universal themes.

The whole show was created in Montreal, but also at some place in Quebec. We like to go out of the city and reach theatres that are out in the country. So we can create in a space that is more…I don't know, calm. 

[Rémi laughs] 

Ellen: What’s the difference between touring and being at home when it comes to presenting work? 

[A collective “hmmm”]

Rémi: No. 

Jean-Félix: I think it's the same.

Rémi: One show takes three years. A big work with research and… to try with different audiences.

Jean-Félix: I think it's the same because we created the show that we want to be the same everywhere. But at one point there's always a… Like we did the premier yesterday and we did the show today and I think it's always kind of a surprise to see that the show works again. 

Rémi: But at the same time, I think each show for me, it's a gift for the audience. If you don't give this show to the audience, I think maybe the audience feels that. So maybe that’s the key…I don't know. I don't know, but it's so good, but it's so good! [Rémi turns to Jean-Félix] And he’s strong! And so patient. I don’t know why! 


Ellen: Who is your audience? 

Jean-Félix: The best for us, the best is a family show. Of all ages. If you have a mix that's the best because the kids laugh at one point and the adults laugh at other points. And we have created the show for that. We do a lot of school presentations, not in schools, but in theatres where schools are coming to see the show and we do it in front of an audience full of kids.But it's not the same. 

Rémi: It's very strange. So the little, little, little kid he just… Calls out everything in the show.

“Whguhjahguh!!  (an excited kids garble) Go to the other whurchurchay”. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. And the second cycle, it's a (whispers and murmurs incomprehensibly) And then the third cycle... No sound. 

And with the family: 



“Ah, okay yeah… arrchh, I love you!”

It's  very, very, very fun for me. 

Jean-Félix: More complete. It's more complete. And then the show is living. It's full of life.

Rémi: (to Ellen) what is your favourite part in this show? 

Ellen: I was saying before! The last image with the both of you enclosed in that space, at the end (a vague description for no spoilers:  the image involved a beautiful backlight and it gave me that little heart pull that happens at the end of a show when my body becomes aware of how attached I’ve become to the characters on stage) I had… I had tears coming up. It was heartbreaking!

Rémi: Bye bye!

Ellen: Bye bye! That really… and everything landed. I just felt so close to you at that point. And the other moment that made me.. “Ahhh!” I had an [a gesture with my arms out, looking up to the sky] and I went “Ohh!” and then it stops and I went “Ohhh!” was the piano. The piano and the acrobatics. 

Rémi: The handstand.

Ellen: The handstand where you (Rémi) were floating… flying and these choooords! [Turning to Jean-Félix] Your articulation of the hand! (Jean-Félix laughs, during this moment there would be beats where Jean-Félix’s clown looks and connects with Rémi’s clown and in the moment between playing a chord on the piano his hand would remain suspended in the air and his fingers would curl up gently) It was so beautiful! Thank you!


Rémi: Your ARTICULATION! YOUR ARTICULATION! MY GOD! AGAIN AND AGAIN! [More laughter] Thank you so much! 

Jacinthe: And Rémi plays the piano too but in the air ‘toom!’ [Jacinthe presses the air and brings back the image of Rémi’s feet and hand gestures alongside the piano chords]  they're connected together.

Ellen: Yes! 

Rémi: This for me, each movement in this show is a.. 

Jean Félix: It's a choice. 

Rémi: It's a choice. Everything, a choice. No perturbation or distraction. Movement, every movement. So the feet, the head… [leaning into Jean-Félix] your ARTICULATION. 

What was the best moment of the show? The articulation of them fillips, WOW. 

Please hang tight for the second half of this interview, coming soon!

Les Foutoukours:

Thank you to Lucie and Quartier Libre for organising this interview:

bottom of page